R Pod campers tout themselves as luxury-level compact camping RV that combines ease of towing, modern building materials that improve performance, and an affordable price. The question is, are R-Pods worth the money when you compare them to other similar model travel trailers or teardrops?
The answer is that, yes, most owners find R-Pods are a good investment, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. That’s why we created this guide to break down the pros and cons of R-Pod travel trailers and discuss different floorplans.
Please read along to learn what makes R-Pod campers so great and what areas can use improvement, so you can decide if an R-Pod travel trailer will fit your camping needs!
- R-Pod History
- R-Pod Specifications, Floorplans, and Price
- R-Pod Travel Camper Pros
- Top R-Pod Cons
- R-Pod Wrap Up
R-Pod campers are built by Forest River, a company well-versed in recreational vehicle production and the needs of camping and RVing enthusiasts which is why it’s worth the money.
In business since 1996, Forest River continues to evolve to create campers that suit the demands of customers, and this is why the R-Pod travel trailer came into being about a decade ago.
The R-Pod offers the lowest tow weight in its class by using construction materials that are lightweight and durable without giving up the amenities, features, and comfort RVers want.
Forest River RV has manufacturing plants around the US and builds Class A motorhomes, Class C motorhomes, travel trailers, park models, fifth wheels, pop-up campers, and toy haulers.
R-Pod Specifications, Floorplans, and Price
All R-Pod models fit within these specification ranges:
- UVW: 2,504 to 4,574 lbs
- Hitch weight: 252 to 485 lbs
- Exterior length: 18.4 to 25.0 feet
- Exterior width: 8 feet
- Exterior height: 9.6 to 10.7 feet
- Interior height: 6′ 6″
Even the largest of the R-Pod models has a light towing weight that increases the vehicle range you can choose to pull the camper.
R-POD PRICE RANGE
Current year new R-Pods start at $17,000 and go up to $35,000. The most popular floorplans cost in the $25,000 range.
There are ten models available and one dealer stock version, the RP-179 DSO.
The RP-179 DSO model is a 20-foot-long model with a slide that houses a large U-shape dinette, queen bed, and rear kitchen.
The RP-171 model is the smallest, but still offers a queen bed, ample dinette, and wet bath.
The RP-180 has a rear bathroom and puts the kitchen inside a slideout for more floor space.
The RP-189 and RP-190 are very similar in the floorplan, but the rear seating arrangement swaps a sofa for a dinette. The kitchen is within the single slideout.
The RP-192 floorplan features a queen murphy bed, centralized kitchen and dinette, and rear bathroom for the most open living space arrangement, even without a slide.
The RP-193 is a family camper with a queen bed and twin bunk beds. The slide in the kitchen area increases the hang-out space.
The RP-195 and RP-196 both feature a wide slide and a rear kitchen but one has a dinette while the other places a sofa in the same location.
The RP-201 has a walk-through bathroom that provides privacy for the master suite and a more livable kitchen and dining space. The model has no slides.
The RP-202 has a massive slide in the rear where the kitchen is located for a spacious feel. This model also offers a walk-through bathroom to access the master suite.
R-Pod Travel Camper Pros
What makes the R-Pod different from other camping trailers?
We took the time to poll friends with the camper, as well as diving into owner reviews to find out why they feel the R-Pod campers is better than other models or brands and are worth the money also, here are the results:
- Adzel construction components
- Lightweight with aluminum framing
- Aerodynamic design
- Seamless roof and automotive windows
- Torsion axle
- An impressive amount of standard features
- Ample-size holding tanks
- Pet-friendly built-in features
- Free year of roadside assistance
R-POD CONSTRUCTION BENEFITS
Forest River uses Adzel in their R-Pod build. The material is a blend of fiberglass and polypropylene, which creates stronger and lighter panels than wood or luan.
Using Azdel on the exterior and interior camper sidewalls, the ceiling, and the roof adds a tough layer that is resistant to all types of weather and temperature conditions, plus it buffers sound.
The product is environmentally friendly and doesn’t off-gas any harmful chemicals or odors. The model is moisture and rot-resistant, which helps stop mold issues that are common in wood-frame RVs.
All R-Pod models feature a fully heated and enclosed underbelly and water system that helps prevent frozen pipes during cold-weather camping or winter storage.
R-Pod framing is another benefit, as the six-sided 100% aluminum-framed studs are rigid but lightweight. Aluminum framing around doors and windows adds more structural integrity.
The R-Pod windows use automotive-style seals, which are much more watertight than standard RV window framing.
The lightweight build and aerodynamic front end reduce wind resistance, lower fuel costs and increase trailer handling.
Lastly, the powder-coated steel frame chassis features a patented Equa-Flex rubberized suspension and Dexter axles for a smoother ride, even on rough terrain.
The trailer’s electric braking system self-adjusts, which improves stopping distance and trailer control.
With all these benefits, you’ll want to know how you winterize them.
R-POD DESIGN BENEFITS
The R Pod campers feature a 6′ 6″ interior ceiling height on all models, enabling even taller people to stand upright and they feel the money is worth it!
Another benefit of all R-Pod models is the bathroom. The smallest model has a wet bath, but all others have a dry bath, so you don’t have to leave the camper to shower or use the bathroom at busy RV parks or way off-grid where no facilities exist.
The kitchen is super compact but fully functional. The sink and stove burner covers increase counter space, while the cabinetry is stylish and can hold plenty of food and dishes.
R-POD FEATURE BENEFITS
Camping gear can be long or bulky and often end up on the trailer floor during travel. The R-Pod features an impressively sizable pass-through compartment to store items nearly 8 feet long.
Most of the R-Pod models come with a Thule power awning with LED lights, eliminating the hassle of setting up a manual awning system.
If off-grid camping is on your bucket list, then you’ll be happy to know the R-Pod is prepped for roof-mount solar, and you can choose to outfit your camper with the optional 110W solar panel, 1000 Watt inverter, and digital controller package.
The storage tanks feature a 36-gallon freshwater tank and 30-gallon individual black and grey water tanks. Having more tank storage gives you the freedom to boondock without the need to refresh your water supply or dump wastewater often.
Some R-Pod models come with an outside kitchen that features a sink and two-burner cooktop, or you can add it as an option. Most RVers love cooking outdoors, keeping the mess and odors outside the camper.
Inside, the kitchen comes with a 3.7 cubic foot refrigerator and wood cabinetry and drawers. You can upgrade to a convection microwave to cook or bake a wider selection of food.
Additions such as a 13.5K BTU air conditioning unit and 24-inch flat-screen TV fill out the options that create a home-like feeling.
R-POD BONUS BENEFITS
Roadside assistance is an RVing must-have, and Forest River gives new owners their first year of coverage free. This perk lets you hit the road immediately without worry you’ll be stuck if you require a tire change, towing, jump-starts, a mobile mechanic, or more.
R-Pod knows RVers love pets and make all their campers with furry friends in mind with the addition of pet bowls, connections for pet leashes, and an outside shower to wash them or rinse muddy feet.
Another incredible perk is joining the Forest River RV community, known as FROG (Forest River Owner’s Group). FROG offers a space for owners to gather in person at rallies held across the US or online to discuss everything RV, from the best camping locations to where to find quality RV insurance.
Top R-Pod Cons
Here are the top five cons of R-Pod camper ownership:
#1 Living and Sleeping Accommodation
R-Pod has floorplans that state they can sleep up to four, but the reality is that this camper is best for a solo or couple.
While you can technically sleep a couple of children on the convertible sofa or dinette, having four bodies inside the small camper at once feels tight when trying to perform routine living tasks.
Owners do state that getting a model with a rear kitchen improves foot traffic issues.
If you want an affordable camping trailer to take out a few times a year with your family, the R-Pod will work, but if you plan to camp often or like having ample indoor space to hang out comfortably, then this camper is not for you.
#2 Comfort and Function of Furniture and Bathroom
Living and Sleeping Accommodation, Comfort and Function of Furniture and Bathroom, Storage Capacity,
Most owners admit that the cushions on the dinette are too thin and uncomfortable to sit on for long periods, and they paid to upgrade them.
When you switch the dinette over to a bed, the problem is only worse. Most owners quickly add extra padding to the cushions or redo them entirely to make them more enjoyable to use.
A tip from owners is to opt for the sofa instead of the dinette as it’s softer for both seating and sleeping, and you can pull up a table or use a lap tray for eating or work.
Most owners appreciate having a bathroom at all inside such a compact travel trailer but expect the space to be tight, especially on the R-Pod models that don’t offer a slideout.
If you want the largest bathroom, opt for a floorplan with a walk-through version, as it covers the entire width of the camper.
#3 Storage Capacity
The R-Pod does boast a large exterior pass-through storage compartment, but the interior space could use more cabinets or storage options.
Owners wish for more overhead storage in the bedroom or doors to access the space under the dinette seats instead of lifting them.
Most owners end up adding shelving or wall pockets or nets to expand storage wherever they can to make the space more functional.
#4 Trim Work and Details
Where your R-Pod gets built appears to have a big impact on the finishing details of the camper, more critically, the sealing caulk work and the interior trim.
Some owners have issues with the poor attachment of trim, leading to it popping loose. To be fair, this is a common problem across all brands of campers.
A bigger area of concern is the lack of proper sealing around the slide and roof edges, causing leaks inside the R-Pod, leading to much more serious issues.
R-Pod stresses how “maintenance-free” their campers are, but if it isn’t put together by an experienced worker, you could be stuck with leaks, so don’t buy until you inspect every seam for tightness and gap-free caulking.
#5 Warranty Work
When repairs are necessary, getting work done under warranty is often a hassle. A Forest River RV dealer must service the R-Pod, so it may present a problem just getting the camper to the service center depending on your location.
The other problem is that once you locate a Forest River dealer, they often don’t have the workforce or desire to take on your camper repairs, so it could take weeks to finish the job.
Most owners find dragging in their camper for minor repairs to be frustrating and end up DIYing the work or hiring a local handyperson.
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R-Pod Wrap Up
R-Pod travel campers are quality campers that are easy to tow and the money is worth it. The sizing is ideal for adventurous couples or solos but can work for small families.
The design both inside and out is contemporary and functional, and the large array of floorplans and options lets you customize it to fit your needs perfectly.
If you’re in the market for a small RV or travel trailer, check out the R-Pod, and see for yourself if you think it’s worth it!
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